ST. GEORGE, UTAH – Wallace State’s second-seeded softball team made a rare early exit at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I tournament on Thursday night, falling to Temple (Texas) College 9-2 in an elimination game at the Canyons Complex.
Temple College scored the game’s first five runs and added four insurance runs in the seventh to end Wallace State’s season.
The Lady Lions close the season with a 62-14 record after entering the national tournament seeking their second national title in three seasons and third overall under coach Jayne Clem. Until Thursday, Wallace State had finished no worse than third in the nation during its last five trips to the national tournament.
Temple College’s Paige Williams broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth Thursday, drilling a wind-aided home run to left field for a 2-0 lead. Williams, who also tossed a complete game, hit the two-run shot through a howling wind and a steady rain.
The game was suspended seconds after Williams’ home run, and the teams sat through a pair of rain delays totaling a little more than an hour.
Once play was resumed for a second time, the seventh-seeded Leopards extended their lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth with three more runs. Williams had an RBI single and Lexi Smith followed with a two-run single.
Wallace State tallied its first run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by sophomore Sarah Jordan, trimming the Lady Lions’ deficit to 5-1.
Temple put the game out of reach in the seventh, adding four insurance runs off Wallace State sophomore starter Rachel Ragland.
Brooke Kinsey had a run-scoring single for Wallace State in the seventh.
Sam Riley finished 2 for 3 for Wallace State, collecting her second consecutive multi-hit game in the tournament. Kinsey, Jordan, Mackenzie Hill, Molli Garcia and Katie Parr had a single apiece for Wallace State.
Abigail Schade and Adelae Vayas each finished with three hits for Temple, while Smith was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Williams 1 for 2 with three RBIs.
Williams went the distance for the Leopards, scattering two runs – one earned – on seven hits. She struck out six and walked five.
Wallace State was forced into the elimination bracket after losing to Wabash Valley (Ill.) College 2-1 on Wednesday.
Wallace State advanced to the NJCAA Division I tournament after winning its ninth ACCC/Region 22 tournament championship on April 27.
Sophomores on this year’s team are Ragland, Kinsey, Hill, Jordan, Amanda Medders, Katlyn Whitehead, Andrea McKenzie and Courtney Walker.
Wallace State golf in 5th place before final round
Wallace State’s golf team has inched back towards the NJCAA Division I national championship lead with one round left to play at the Sand Creek Station Golf Course in Newton, Kansas.
Wallace State finished with a 3-under 285 on Thursday, the team’s best round yet in Kansas. The Lions are in fifth place and 21 shots behind leader Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College. Eastern Florida State, McLennan (Texas) CC and Odessa College also sit in front of the Lions.
The Lions opened the tournament Tuesday with a 1-over 289, followed with a 308 on Wednesday and rebounded with the 285 Thursday.
Wallace State freshman Sylas Elliott jumped up 14 spots on the individual leaderboard after carding a 3-under 69 on Thursday. Elliott is currently tied for 13th overall with a 3-over 219.
Eli Marty, another Wallace State freshman, shot a 1-over 73 during the third round and maintains a 5-over 221 heading into Friday’s final round.
Will McDowell, Walker Gordon and Cooper Brown are also competing for the Lions in Kansas.
Wallace State, which was tied for the overall lead after the tournament’s opening round, is seeking its first national title in its 20th NJCAA national tournament appearance under coach Dan York. The Lions have finished national runner-up three times during that span, including last season.
The four-day event concludes Friday.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
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